Over the years I have worked with different size customers, from one-man trade names to listed companies. Both small and large players are still bothered by the occasional idea that user interface design is a mandatory evil in the project which can be compromised if necessary. In the sales situation we often uncover the design process and explain why it is worth investing into usability and testing in the early phase. In the online world successful user experience equals to successful online business strategy.
Online service or application should have at its’ simplest an effect on your business as follows:
- Increase revenue
- Reduce costs
- Add new customers
- Increase revenue from existing customers
- Increase value for the shareholders
How does this relate to usability in practice?
Let’s take an example. During the summer I cleaned our garage and downloaded the Tori.fi mobile app into my phone. In the basement I photographed the products to be sold and added them with an easy-to-use user interface to the service. Even registration was easy and painless in the mobile app.
A well-designed mobile app made me a new user of Tori.fi and I added a number of products to the service during the first use, i.e. offering content to the service. Based on my statistics, my products were viewed thousands of times so I brought a fair amount of clicks and possibly site visitors via Google. So I added movement both in new and old users to the site and in the site. This resulted more display ads, potential revenue and at the same time added value for the service whose business relies on user generated content. Obviously my products (= content) were not that bad as the deals took place in less than a day.
Summary: good content + good design = good user experience. Designing content and usability should not be seen as two different departments but as a coalition that supports business when successful.
Another domestic example is the Longplay.fi service where people are ready to pay euros for high quality content. However good content alone is not enough; it must be easily readable with all devices, available in the most common distribution channels and payment made simple.
The mobile app of the Tori.fi service has played a key role for me taking the service into use. If I would have had to do the same adding of products from my laptop I would not have seen it worth few coins. My experience was so positive that I even shared my enthusiasm on Twitter. If Tori.fi has a goal stated in its’ strategy to add content providers to the site, a successful mobile user interface plays a key role in achieving this goal.
To the end I give an assignment for all online retailers: Try to buy a product from your own online store with your mobile device. How did you manage to compare products, fill in the fields on the forms and to pay the order? Solution to poor online sales is not always simply adding marketing but helping potential buyers already on the site to forthright commerce.